The Blur of Insanity (1999)

The Blur of Insanity (1999) Poster

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9 February 2002 | El Nath
"Blur" uniquely portrays and comments on "collegederelicts"
"The Blur of Insanity" may seem, to the casual browser, to be just another film about college hijinks. But I was surprised to find there is a lot more to this film. "Blur" is a TRUE black comedy, a very rare genre, the best example of which is Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove". If you appreciated the unique humor and tone of "Strangelove", you should check out "Blur".

In both films you find yourself laughing at things which in real life are terrible problems that most of us are in denial about.

I first heard about "Blur" through its website, which contains a similar dark humor and also indulges in extremely un-politically-correct misbehaviors. I thought the website was generally a hoot, ordered the DVD just because I was curious, and frankly did not expect much...

I found the quality of the DVD quite impressive though, even compared with Hollywood's output. It is way better than your typical indie DVD. The interface features nice 3D animation, a good "day on the set" video, and mysterious links which maintain the feel of the film.

The film itself is shot in widescreen and seems very slick for a low-budget effort. The story concerns five college "derelicts" whose response to getting into trouble is to drink, trip, cheat, and whore.

But what is interesting is the weird sense of innocence that pervades these doings. They do evil, but are not evil. They remind me of people I knew in college.

"Blur" sends up the hyper-liberal politics found on campus these days, and it also sends up what college students have largely become: drug-dazed clueless irresponsible children, drunk with the newfound power of vehicles, guns, sex, and evasion of authority. But this is the thing: "Blur" is on their side. There is no judgement of their "insanity", only a kind of misty nostalgic approval. For instance, when was the last time you saw a film which dared to show pot-smoking as harmless, even joyful fun?

It's amazing to me that this film even exists...

"Blur" manages to simultaneously indulge in this misbehavior, and make fun of it, and make fun of itself.

"Blur" is even so subversive, it subverts the norms of its genre. It halfway sets up "Animal House" style story expectations, and then drops them like a hot potato, to persue instead a narrative style which seems as aimless and wild as its protagonists. By the middle of the film, during the excellent (and most accurate) "tripping" sequence, you realize that whatever story threads were hanging together have been dissolved. I found this to be hilarious, appropriate, and even a little avant-garde; I suppose there are others who misunderstand this as bad storytelling. Some people...

By the way, I thought the above mentioned "tripping" sequence is THE highlight of the film. I was amused...

As you watch the film, you may not laugh out loud, but you feel as if you might at any moment. The film is very low key, with weird, soothing classical music playing in odd places to add to the irony...

You come away from "Blur" feeling like you have seen a gentle, subtle, and affectionate comic exaggeration of of some harsh realities about the life of young people today that most films are, sadly, way too afraid to approach.

"The Blur of Insanity" is definitely not for everyone. It is not faux "provacative", it is TRULY provacative, and may offend many PC sensitives. (Note: it refreshingly avoids the tiresome trend of potty-humor that is so in vogue these days.) But if you have a knee-jerk negative reaction to this film, there are plenty of mediocre films out there which won't challenge you a bit, and I suggest you stick with those. "Blur" is a film for the hidden legions who misspent their youth and don't regret it, are actually proud of it, and for those who are sophisticated enough to appreciate something unusual.

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